Arizona Trump rally and voting rights march underscore the fight for democracy

One side is afraid to return to the past, hearing the echoes of Jim Crow in the present.

The other is convinced by a relentless propaganda campaign that elections in the United States are rigged.

B81AC-6A03-E4CF-1FF8-6A96F640FFC1">The latter was out in full force on Saturday at former President Donald Trump’s first rally of 2022 in Florence, Arizona. Among the dozen or so Trump supporters who spoke to CNN, grand conspiracy theories—all of which have been debunked—about how the 2020 election was rigged (such as those connected via voting machines Hui) Former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013) have given way to more sophisticated talking points that closely coincide with restrictive voting measures being implemented by Republicans across the country.
“There’s a famous statement – ‘sometimes the vote counter is more important than the candidate,'” Trump said in a video posted online Friday, underlining how Republicans Inspired by Their Electoral Lies Tried to undermine the legitimacy of US elections. Arizona – which President Joe Biden pushed in 2020 to become the first Democrat to lead the state since 1996 – has been at the center of those efforts.

In Florence on Saturday, Trump showed what kind of “vote counter” he approves.

Speaking at his rally, Kari Lake, Trump’s choice for governor, said there were some people who “would like to send her here to prison in Florence. Anyone who was involved in that corrupt, shady, lousy 2020 election. Shut them down.”
Mark Finchem, an Arizona state representative whom Trump has endorsed as the state’s top election official as secretary of state, has previously echoed QAnon-type conspiracy theories about election officials and continues to maintain That the vote in Arizona was stolen from Trump has been widely discredited. even a biased audit Maricopa County results, commissioned by state Senate Republicans, confirmed Biden’s victory in the county.
Finchem has previously been linked to the right-wing extremist group Oath Keepers. some of its members were Accused of “seditious conspiracy” last week Related to the US Capitol attack.

Finchem reiterated the former president’s lie, saying, “I look forward to the day we set aside an incredibly flawed election. It’s the 2020 election. With all the evidence we have, the Arizona election has been passed by the legislature.” should be removed with reason.” From the podium at his rally on Saturday.

A year-long relentless attack on the integrity of US elections has paved the way for Trump to make candidates like these the natural choice in 2022, who are trying to exercise their influence over the GOP – including local election officials. At the same time he is eyeing another bid for the White House in 2024. recently Washington Post Tally found that “at least 163 Republicans who have acknowledged Trump’s false claims are running for positions statewide that would give him authority over the administration of elections.”

But even at Trump’s rally there was rare praise for a Democrat.

“She’s our representative, she represents the state, she’s not along party lines, she’s good for the country,” said Robby Kimsey, an Arizona voter and Trump supporter. Democratic Sen. Kirsten Cinema,

Cinema, along with West Virginia Sen. Joe Machin, is blocking the passage of a pair of voting rights bills that Democrats hope can counter some of the restrictive voting measures Republicans have implemented at the state level. Cinema has said she supports the bills but is not in favor of changing Senate rules to get them passed.

The protests by these two moderate Democrats are frustrating voting rights activists, including those who gathered in Arizona this weekend.

Martin Luther King III, son of Martin Luther King Jr., told CNN in Phoenix, “She says she wants voting rights, but how do you want voting rights without making way for it? It’s inconsistent, it’s unacceptable.” ” Saturday.

The King family had traveled to Arizona to participate in a voting rights march that called on the cinema to act – warning that history would not judge him kindly.

“I think we’re at a really defining moment,” Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democratic hopeful for governor, told CNN.

Hobbes said democracy had won in 2020 as election officials on both sides of the aisle did their jobs – but now, Trump-backed election denials are running for jobs that would give them authority over elections, the future less. sure.

“I think the 2022 election is going to determine the future of our democracy,” Hobbs said.

Yolanda Renee King, the 13-year-old granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr., who was with her family in Phoenix this weekend, told CNN: “I think it’s very important to vote and it is very important to vote. Right, because right now our country is at stake.”